Travel Writing & Photography Retreat
New Orleans, Louisiana

Note: The June 2020 workshop has been postponed until June 17-20, 2022 due to the coronavirus outbreak and restrictions on travel. Scroll down to get on the interest list for 2022.

Are you a writer looking for hands-on experience to improve your travel writing skills? 

Do you want practice using your camera to help tell your story?

Are you interested in having some exhilarating discussions & soft travel adventures with a small, like-minded group of travel writers?

Would you love to visit the best city in the United States for culture, music, history, atmosphere and fun?

Join us in New Orleans for our

Travel Writing & Photography Retreat

We’ll spend time together inside the classroom learning about travel writing and photography. There will be lectures, writing exercises, in-the-field tours, group readings & discussions, and hands-on experience to improve your writing. You'll also receive one-on-one feedback & goal setting in a session with Roy.

You'll explore the city dreaming up story ideas, writing and making photographs to help you tell your story.  This is your chance to visit New Orleans, soak in it's unique vibe and brush up on your travel writing and photography skills.

Sorry, registration is closed for our 2023 Travel Writing & Photography Retreat 

About New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana has a reputation as the Festival Capital of the World, the birthplace of Jazz, and cultural diversity you won't find anywhere else in the U.S.

Everyone's familiar with the Mardi Gras festival but there's much more to this town.  Beyond the festivals - like oyster shucking and music festivals - New Orleans has fabulous food, a wide variety of music to enjoy and a jazzed up atmosphere.  In fact, the birthplace of jazz is also full of orchestras, dance companies, museums and art exhibits.

There are parks, cemeteries and history. The French Quarter is one of NOLA’s most historic neighborhoods. Founded in 1718, the French Quarter vibe is romantic, mysterious and jazzy. You can enjoy Jackson Square history, go on a steam boat cruise, have some fun on Bourbon Street or enjoy a great meal surrounded by old-world architecture.

There are ghost tours and voodoo tours. You’ll hear horse hooves clopping around the Quarter. After sunset the French Quarter comes alive with night life, live music and dancing.

It’s a fun place!

About the Retreat

This unique destination writer’s retreat includes creative travel writing and photography workshops.  You'll learn the skills you need to be a successful travel writer including tips to make quick improvements to your writing. And you'll learn how to produce quality photographs that editors will love and that will help you tell your story.  By the end of the retreat you'll have a completed draft story and photo gallery - ready to pitch to an editor!

New Orleans will inspire your writing, spark your imagination and please your palate.  You'll learn the craft of travel writing while touring this extraordinary destination.  No experience is necessary; just bring an open mind, a laptop, or simply pen and paper.  Your sense of curiosity and creative juices will flow no matter which tools you use.

You’ll have time to explore the fascinating local attractions and soak up the culture — all while learning the craft of travel writing and photography from a seasoned travel journalist and veteran travel photographer.

Most days we'll spend four hours in the classroom with lectures, group discussions, readings and writing activities.  The rest of the time you're free to explore the city with the group or on your own. 

We’re working out the final details with our host hotel (it will be announced soon.) We'll have a comfortable, private meeting room for our classroom sessions and we'll hold one-on-one meetings around other parts of the hotel. 

The New Orleans Streetcar is the best way to get around. During your free time and while you’re doing field research, you can explore the French Quarter, the Garden District, Downtown and other places you might otherwise not see. 

You'll have plenty of free time to get out and discover your own stories, and to relax.  The classroom exercises will help you write personal travel memoirs and stories you can keep for yourself, publish professionally or share with friends and family on your blog.   

The techniques you'll learn won’t just help you write better - they’ll help you travel better, too.  You’ll gain richer awareness and deeper insights into the places you visit. 

Because you’ll be writing about New Orleans and taking photos each day, you’ll delve more deeply and be more observant at everything around you. 

Class sessions are meant help you write more clearly about your trip while you’re in New Orleans.  And they’ll help you pen your stories about past experiences and future destinations, too.

This retreat is open to writers of all skill levels.  It’s crafted to allow plenty of flexibility to concentrate on the things that interest you most, whether it's writing, photography, or exploring the ancient town with your fellow participants.

Skills You'll Develop and Things You'll Learn

  • How to develop your personal travel writing voice and style
  • Crafting a compelling beginning or lede
  • Developing your story ideas and story angles to make them marketable
  • Using photographs to create a sense of place
  • Tips and advice to craft active, compelling stories
  • How to improve your story structure and writing technique
  • Secrets to turn your creative sparks into exciting stories
  • Expert tips on how to make your travel writing more descriptive
  • How to avoid the worst travel writing mistakes
  • Making your writing stand out to a magazine editor
  • How to provide photo galleries editors will love
  • Important travel writing rules you must know to be successful
  • Photography field trip at dusk to create magical photos during the golden hour
  • Photography tips and techniques that will help sell your travel stories

Developing Story Ideas and Angles

All travel writing is grounded in a story topic and story angle. This class explores where to look for story ideas and how to develop a strong story angle. 

You’ll start work on a writing assignment by developing a story topic and angle.  Then you’ll spend time in discussions with your small writing group in the breakout sessions.  And you’ll get some input from the instructor about how to tweak your ideas and make them shine.

“The one-on-one time with Roy to get feedback on my ideas and writing were invaluable.”
- Jill Friedman

Story Structure and Writing Technique

From developing your introduction to outlining your article and wrapping it all up, this session will provide a step-by-step outline for crafting a winning travel piece. 

“Just wanted to share something with the group - I've sold a story with photos, about Hoi An since coming home from the workshop. I wasn't going to tell anyone until it came out in print but was feeling like the cat with the canary however, I am choking on the feathers so just had to spit it out.”
- Linda Blair

Photography to Tell Your Story and Sell It

Photography is an important part of travel journalism, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer to create professional-looking photos that will help sell your travel stories.

This workshop cover bringing your stories to life with images.  We’ll cover the basics: subject selection, framing, composition, lighting.  And we’ll show you how to take photographs that convey a sense of place, deliver a gallery editors love, and talk about processing tips to make your photos shine.  You'll also learn the top ten tips for crafting an engaging photo gallery that editors will love.

We'll go on one photo shoot at dusk to capture the lights, buildings and street activity, and gather photos for your story.  You'll learn about what time is best for creating beautiful photos, and then you'll get to make some of your own!

On the last day we’ll spend time reviewing your photo gallery and sharing your stories with the group and you'll get feedback from your fellow travel writers and your instructors.

"Thank you for an amazing week! We learned so many useful tips to improve our writing and photography. We thoroughly enjoyed the dinners, drinks and cooking class. You are so gracious and generous. Your workshop was everything we hoped for and more!"  

- Pam and Gary Baker

“The balanced curriculum between writing and photography were outstanding.”
- Deb Sittko

“Enjoyed the dawn and sunset photo shoots. The photography tips were great.”
- Pam Baker

Additional Benefits

  • A private Facebook group will be available soon after we open registration.  You can share your work, get advice, and solicit feedback from us before and after the retreat!  You can also ask questions about things to do in New Orleans so you can plan your itinerary.
  • You'll receive a complimentary digital copy of The Art & Craft of Travel Writing, a popular resource to have at your fingertips.
  • You'll also receive a complimentary digital copy of our recent book, Find Your Niche:  Uncover Your Most Meaningful and Valuable Writing Opportunities.
  • While you’re in New Orleans, you’ll receive writing tasks and honest and constructive feedback to help you grow as a writer.  You'll spend time outside the classroom writing a story and taking photos to accompany the story.  You'll leave with at least one completed draft story and many more story ideas.
  • We'll facilitate small group breakouts to do readings, share ideas, offer feedback and motivate each other.
  • There will be an early evening photography shoot, weather permitting.  Learn about light and how to get the most dramatic shots of this amazing city.
  • Roy will be available outside classroom hours to meet with you on whatever questions you have about travel writing and what kind of stories sell.
  • Post workshop consultation with Roy on one story idea.  He'll walk you through the process of how to get your story published.
  • Class size is limited to 25 participants, allowing you to get all your questions answered, get lots of personal feedback and an opportunity to make new friends in an relaxed environment.

“I loved the small size of the group and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere”
- Jill Friedman

"Such wonderful memories! The classes in the mornings were informative and provided the detailed info we were looking for. 

Afternoons and evenings exploring with Roy and Linda were fun and delicious! We toured the marketplace, took a Vietnamese cooking class, learned about local dishes and dined at the best restaurants. And the friendships you form will stay with you!"
- Pam Baker

About Your Instructors

Roy Stevenson and Linda Popovich have been working and traveling together for more than thirteen years as travel writer & photographer. 

Roy is a professional travel writer and the author of PitchTravelWrite.  Over the past thirteen years, he’s had more than 1000 articles published in 200 magazines, trade and specialty journals, in-flights, on-boards, blogs and websites and has traveled on assignment around the U.S. and to dozens of international destinations.

Linda is a professional travel photographer and editor/publisher of PitchTravelWrite.  Her photographs have been published in a variety of regional, national and international magazines and online.  After 25 years in a corporate office, she enjoys photographing anything that keeps her outdoors, takes her to new places and introduces her to new friends.

You can learn more about them at and

"We had so much fun, but more importantly, we learned a lot! If you're ready to up your game on writing and photography, Roy Stevenson and Linda Popovich are the dynamic duo!"
- Pam and Gary Baker

Course Agenda (to be revised for 2022)

You’ll fly into the brand new Louis Armstrong International Airport and take a taxi or shuttle to our host hotel.  If you arrive early, you can explore the New Orleans on your own. You'll find plenty to do.

Day 0 (evening before retreat), 5 PM –  Meet and Greet where we’ll have a drink and get to know each other. Attendance is optional.

Day 1, 8 AM -  The Retreat Begins

- Introduction to travel writing - learn the seven trade secrets for writing a good travel story.

- Developing your story ideas & story angles – learn how to make them marketable so that editors will buy them.

- Using photography to create a sense of place – most editors expect you to provide high quality photos with your stories.  Learn techniques for creating a sense of place with your photographs so editors will love your photos (and you will, too!)

- Crafting a compelling beginning or lede

We'll wrap up between Noon and 1 pm

Afternoon – Time to explore New Orleans.  Have some lunch, take a break at one of many coffee shops, or relax at the pool and do some writing.

Day 2, 8AM 

- Lesson: What Editors Want in Photography

- Individual Creative Writing Time

- Tips & advice to craft active, compelling stories

- Lesson: Top 10 Tips for Better Photos

Afternoon – Free time to explore the city, do some writing, or go farther afield to some of the local sites.

4-6 PM - Evening Photography Shoot, weather permitting

Day 3, 8 AM – 1PM

You’ll learn about the worst (and most common) travel writing mistakes and how to avoid them

Learn the secrets to turn your creative sparks into exciting stories

Why editing matters – see examples of stories before & after editing and the important differences

Discuss how to write a query letter and how to successfully pitch editors your travel stories

There will be some Creative Writing Time

Afternoon – Free time to explore New Orleans, work on your article, do some field research, or visit some of the local sites.

Day 4, 8 AM-1 pm

Learn how to make your writing stand out to a magazine editor

You'll share the story you wrote during the week with the class and show the photos you made to accompany your story.  Includes a Q&A session plus private feedback and comments from other participants.

Wrap-up and next steps in the process.

Explore New Orleans and Attend Marketing Master Class.

Check out of hotel --- or stay longer and continue exploring!

“The tour of the market and the cooking class were wonderful – never thought they would be so great! Loved the day!”
- Pam Baker

“I liked the pace of the sessions and blocks of free time – spot on. And I loved the group dinners!”
- Janet MacDonald

“The balance between the workshop, free time, and group events, and the practical, usable advice were great!”
- Annette DeSmedt

“Good scheduling, excellent instruction, good exercises, and great discussions.”

“I would like to thank you for all you did for me in Hoi An. I thought you made the classes very relaxed and understandable and passed on a wealth of information. This was the biggest bang for my buck of all the travel writing workshops I’ve attended. I learned more from you in those 5 days than I did in two previous workshops with a competitor. I will definitely recommend your classes.”
- Linda Blair

Registration Details

Sorry, registration is closed for our 2023 Travel Writing & Photography Retreat 

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